Bad Names and Worse Parenting
Reacting to someone’s name when they introduce them is likely one of the shallowest forms of judgment. Sure, you could assess someone’s appearance or weight, but both of those are at least moderately changeable by a person; their name is something they’re stuck with, at the very least for eighteen years. And yet, it’s a big commitment – you have to make the same arrangement of sounds roll off your tongue every time you have to get their attention, and your fingers have to be systematically programmed to type that series of letters without instinctually reverting to the spelling of a similar-sounding word. And some Parents of the Year candidates seem like they’re truly out to set their spawn up for failure.
On the less offensive side of the spectrum are names that are ‘creatively’ spelled. You know your average Destynie (Destiny, which is still a bad name), Kaysie, Daniol, Kymberleigh, Khrystynah, and Anjli. It’s essentially setting up your child for a lifetime of “no, it’s actually an extra ‘e’ and without the ‘a’ at the end.” They might as well be everyday Wheel of Fortune contestants with all the vowels they end up buying. But in all, while they’re misguided attempts to be unique, they’re really harmless outside of the reach of a Starbucks barista.
Creeping towards the more unforgivable side are the names that you read on a business card and can’t remember whether they’re a guy or a girl. And it’s not just the regular crazy white-people names like Skylar/Skyler and Francis/Frances, but also the Quinn, Jordan, Kendall, Riley, Jesse, Taylor, and Angel-types. That combination of names could either belong to the new recruiting class of your top sorority, or that boy band that swear they have an album coming out but really haven’t written anything in over a year. It takes away the uncomfortable moment of receiving an e-mail and getting all the wrong pronouns, and then having to put a really conspicuous pronoun of your own when you sign off.
Laziness is a sin, that’s often compounded when your kids have to carry the burden of that sin even before they know what the meaning of a sin is. Names that are pretty much arbitrary letters strung together – like DJ, CJ, AJ, KJ, pretty much anything that ends with a J. Not only does it invite a creative imagination to create acronyms out of them (Dow Jones? Carl’s Junior? Armani Jeans?), but it makes capitalization all the more important. It means that all of their friends will have to hold the shift key for a whole extra letter so that no one pronounces your kid’s name as ‘Aj.’
But easily the worst transgression is choosing a name that sounds like it belongs within the confines of an anime series. These are the names that are acknowledged as ridiculous, with the hopeful assumption that no one would ever even consider making them a reality. Everyone has a friend of a friend named Biff that walks around with his shirt off everywhere (sidenote: the word biff means to punch someone). You’ve heard your girl friends complain about that guy Chaz they made out with once at a party that only calls them whores now. And everyone feel sorry for the guy named Guy, because his parents really wanted to have a Pokémon. (I can do these all night, and I’m going to) Brody? Brady’s are all right, but adding in an ‘o’ increases the entropy and hell starts to break loose. Maverick? He’s still getting calls to be Sarah Palin’s mascot for her surprise 2016 presidential bid. Bryce? He’ll choke you out with his baseball cap backwards to protect his extremely sunburn-prone neck. Can you really picture waking up to a guy you have to call ‘Ace’ for the rest of your life? It’s only a matter of time before he gets a tattoo of a spade with a skull on his right shoulder. Amankila or Bora? Probably the place you were conceived after your parents had too many drinks on their honeymoon.
And we didn’t even get to Khaleesi (it’s a title, not a name), Facebook (after Justin Timberlake told them it was better without a ‘the’ leading into it), and Hashtag (always good to remind your kid they’ll be important for a few hours over their whole life). We might as well just start calling ourselves by exoplanet numbers for all it’s worth anymore.